Radiology Technician Allegedly Deviates From Patient Supervision Protocol

    Expert Radiology Technician

    This case involves a 41-year-old male patient with a history of rheumatoid arthritis who suffered injuries after falling from an x-ray table. Before the x-ray was conducted, the patient requested assistance getting onto the table. The technician then stepped out of the room towards the end of the exam without notifying the patient as to why. The patient attempted to slide to the edge of the table to get off. As he was sliding forward, he fell to the floor. He began to yell for assistance but the technician did not return to the room for over 5 minutes. As a result, the patient suffered back and arm injuries. It was alleged that the technician did not follow the proper protocol for helping patients on and off the x-ray table.

    Question(s) For Expert Witness

    • 1. What is the proper procedure when assisting a patient on and off an x-ray table?
    • 2. Should the patient be closely monitored throughout x-rays and tests?

    Expert Witness Response E-006277

    I have been a radiology technician, (R),(CT), (M), (MRI) technologist for 20+ years. I have worked in general radiology and specialty modalities, which involves patients of various health conditions. I believe that my experiences have given me the knowledge and expertise required to evaluate cases such as this one. In a typical x-ray setting, the technologist is in the room with the patient. The technologist stands in a control area where the tech sets up the techniques and exposes the patient to radiation. All x-ray control areas have a window lined with lead in order to see the patient. Technologist should assist patients on and off of the x-ray table. The tech should stay within eyesight of the patient or have another staff member stay with the patient in the event the tech needs to leave. Patients should not be left alone on an exam table. The only reasons a tech would leave would be to discuss this case with a radiologist or get help from other staff members. I’m questioning the following. Why was the patient moving forward on the table? Where was the tech when the patient was moving and falling? If the tech was where he or she was supposed to be, the patient would not have to yell for help.


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